Jessica Tams (President, Casual Games Association), and Lloyd Melnick (Co-Founder, Merscom) presented, with Jessica leading off.
To perhaps over-state it, Jessica's presentation was a mix of fluffy slides and divisive and outdated information on the casual market and casual gamer demographic. I give her props for voicing strong opinions (like not buying any of the GTA franchise "if you have morals"), and demerits for miss-stating the separation of core and casual gamers and advertising opps, and relying on outdated data from 2007. But she gets props for finishing out with passion and humor.
Lloyd from Merscom presented some interesting interesting.
Because Merscom is so big (40+ portals and aggregators) they're both one of the bigger "secrets" for those not familiar with the casual market, and they have direct access to a lot of current data. I was scribbling as I was blogging this, so I may do a follow-up with more data.
- Casual Games fit media vehicle timelines better (film, etc.)
> Cooperation, aligned interests (lower risk, and more co-funding and co-development)
- Share costs
- Share Revenue
- Interests Align
- Incentive to keep costs reasonable
- Low development budgets = 50% royalty
> Mass market, rather than core gamers
- Big portals
> Big Fish (~50% of casual portal traffic)
While much of the glamour and publicity goes to the major core game releases like GTA and GoW, it is the casual market that is enjoying the strongest growth of any sector of the game, let alone entertainment, industry. Casual games are PC titles that target the mass market but primarily 30+ women. They are sold via download on websites such as Yahoo! Games, Big Fish Games, RealArcade and hundreds others as well as retailers including Walmart, Target and Best Buy. Unlike their core game cousins, these projects often have a development cycle of less than six months and budget under $100,000. This session will explore opportunities for developers and small publishers in this fast growing space.
* Lloyd Melnick
As a co-founder of Merscom, Lloyd has marketed, produced and published over 150 games for both the casual and core gamer market. Lloyd played a key role in the development and launch of Merscom's number one hit title, Blood Ties, building a relationship with Lifetime Networks, selecting the game's developer and managing the launch. Lloyd secured relationships for Merscom with leading portals and aggregators including Big Fish Games, RealArcade and Oberon in the U.S., helping Merscom gain access to virtually all casual game customers.
President, Casual Games Association
Jessica is the Founder and Managing Director of the Casual Games Association. Jessica oversees the Casual Games Association and the Casual Connect series of services. Previously Jessica was in development, publishing and distribution of casual, core and Xbox games in roles ranging from engineering to product planning & business development.